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ARC Announces Winners of Grant Competition to Promote Tourism Development

June 2007


WASHINGTON, June 7, 2007—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) this week announced the winners of a grant competition to promote natural and cultural heritage tourism development in Appalachia's "gateway communities." These communities border national and state parks, wildlife refuges, forests, historic sites, wilderness areas, and other public lands.

The competition, called the Appalachian Gateway Initiative: Natural and Cultural Heritage Tourism Development, is part of ARC's effort to promote asset-based economic development in Appalachia and include the arts in tourism development projects. ARC contributed $50,000, and the NEA contributed $30,000, to the competition.

Thirty-six proposals requesting $390,000 in grant funds were submitted by communities and organizations located in eight Appalachian states. The following applicants were selected to receive grants:

  • The Pennsylvania towns of Freeport, Leechburg, and Apollo for their joint proposal to coordinate a planning workshop on the use of design, creative expression, and the arts to showcase their communities' natural and heritage assets.
  • The Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association for its plan to connect area artists to sponsors of cultural programs and community events and strengthen cultural heritage tourism in three counties that overlap with the Cherokee National Forest.
  • The Downtown Boone Development Association in North Carolina for its effort to create a heritage-based artwork site.
  • The Smyth County Tourism Association in Virginia for a community-wide natural and cultural heritage tourism assessment.
  • The Connellsville Cultural Trust in Pennsylvania for showcasing the area's unique industrial heritage through a walking tour.
  • The Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, North Carolina, for producing an audio-based driving tour of the Scenic Byway 268 that features voices of local farmers, storytellers, and musicians.
  • The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce in New York for a tourism assessment to help local communities surrounding the Catskill Park understand the area's growth potential and create a shared vision for the future.
  • The Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts and Educational Center in North Carolina for its proposal to develop classes in traditional Appalachian arts and nature-based culture and to partner with area lodging venues in Graham County.

Training and technical assistance for the winning applicants will be provided by the Conservation Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Heritage Tourism Program.

For additional information about the above projects or the Appalachian Gateway Initiative, please contact Kristin Peppel at the Conservation Fund at (828) 232-6834 or Molly Theobald at the Appalachian Regional Commission at (202) 884-7767.